Mother of Peace: Episode 60

Mother of Peace: And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears from Their Eyes
A Memoir by Hak Ja Han Moon
Chapter 10: The Challenge Of Realizing A Heavenly World, pg 294-299

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The world’s parliamentarians share one heart

Nepal has no seashore but having the world’s tallest mountains makes up for that. Countless hikers and wealthy tourists visit Nepal, as it has eight of the world’s 10 highest mountain peaks and its border passes over the very tallest peak, Mount Everest. But Nepal sits secluded between China and India, and the development of its largely agrarian economy is not keeping up with its neighbors.

When I arrived at the Kathmandu airport in November 2018, two dogs were napping peacefully on the waiting-room floor and nobody was shooing them out. Cars and motorcycles came to a sudden stop because far ahead a cow was meandering along the road. Only after she moved off the road did the traffic start moving again. This is Nepal. Nonetheless, large-scale changes have taken place since Nepal encountered our movement. For example, an amazing event took place in Nepal in 2016, which was an unforgettable year for our movement’s peace efforts. In July, hundreds of leaders in the fields of politics, economics, religion and education arrived in Kathmandu from every nation in Asia. These distinguished men and women came to inaugurate the regional chapter of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), a project of the Universal Peace Federation.

* * *

Let me take a moment to introduce the IAPP. World peace cannot come about by human effort alone, nor by the efforts of just a few. Many people, from everyday citizens to high-ranking government officials, need to overcome social class divisions and actively take initiative. Every nation in the world, small or large, has a congress, a parliament or a national assembly. It represents the people of the nation.

Over the years, as I visited nations around the world, I repeatedly urged the parliamentarians who came to meet me to remember the precious mission bestowed upon them by their nation and its people. 

I said that when the people’s elected representatives put their heads together and focus on what they can do to solve conflicts, peace will come quickly and naturally. I spoke of a world alliance of parliamentarians dedicated to the search for peaceful solutions. When I did so, parliamentarians would agree with me.

This vision from Heavenly Parent is the starting point connecting the world’s parliamentarians as one body. Transcending nation, race and culture, by aligning with the only begotten Daughter, parliamentarians can work together to address the ills that bedevil human life.

As I shared this vision, people close to me tried to educate me about political infighting. They asked, “Will leaders of different parties be willing to gather and cooperate? Gathering influential people and peacemakers is not an easy task,” they said, “All the nations’ governments are fraught with conflict and strife caused by the divisions among opposing parties.” I did not budge. I had not a shadow of a doubt that today’s parliamentarians are ready, and I had faith that God would guide each of them to listen to me.

The launch of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace took place in February 2016 at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. The theme of the conference was “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: The Role of Governments, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations.” This was the first of a series of such events, one held on each continent, about which I will now say a few words.

* * *

In Nepal in July 2016, under a hot sun, people gathered in great numbers to launch IAPP in the Asia-Pacific region. More than 166 parliamentarians and another 350 observers came from 29 nations. Many Nepalese citizens attended, and the Right Honorable President Bidhya Devi Bhandari personally conveyed her deep gratitude. Those who said it wouldn’t work were wrong; the conference was a great success from the start, and many people later expressed their appreciation for IAPP as a much-needed organization.

Following the Nepal conference, we launched the West African regional IAPP in August 2016. More than 600 people from 24 nations came to Burkina Faso’s National Assembly building and engaged in lively talks. A few weeks later, we opened the European regional IAPP in London with over 300 people from 40 nations in attendance. As the founder of IAPP, I sought to encourage them. “In building an eternal world of peace,” I said at the London meeting, “each nation’s political leaders must possess a moral character and follow ethical values and the voice of their conscience. The world will change when the world’s parliamentarians unite and cooperate for the sake of peace.”

Then in October, we launched IAPP chapters for Central America and South America in Costa Rica and Paraguay, respectively. Following those events, people gathered in Zambia in early November for the South and East African regional IAPP inauguration. In the northern climes, autumn was already well underway, but in parts of Africa, IAPP attendees had to endure sweltering heat. Still, we focused on our peace ideology and, in the end, resolved to find ways to cleanse our painful histories and work together.

The final IAPP events took place in Japan and the United States. In Japan, people were nervous about how many government officials would attend. These concerns were allayed when more than 200 Japanese leaders and allies, including 63 incumbent parliamentarians, attended the grand event. Regardless of political beliefs and cultural differences, they gathered without hesitation with the will to build a world of peace. In my remarks to the Japanese parliamentarians and key leaders, I conveyed my longing for peace and proposed a path by which to achieve it. They received my words with one heart.

* * *

Our final 2016 rally took place in Washington, D.C. The choice of venue for this IAPP conference, which was the culmination of all previous efforts, was very important. In the end, members of the United States Senate offered the Kennedy Caucus Room, one of the Senate’s most prestigious and historic rooms, as the event location. I was told by the Senate sponsors, “There are many rooms available for the launching ceremony. However, in view of this meeting’s importance to us, we will prepare the Kennedy Caucus Room.” 

The Kennedy Caucus Room is where John F. Kennedy declared his presidential candidacy in 1960. The Senate voted in 2009 to name the room in honor of the three Kennedy brothers. The room has seen numerous meetings on matters of great significance in United States and world history. It was a most fitting venue for the momentous launching in North America of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace.

On November 30, 2016, while a winter rain drizzled outside, the venue was filled with more than 300 US and foreign parliamentarians from 56 nations. Many participants had already met one another at previous IAPP events, and they happily embraced their colleagues from neighboring countries. The mood in this splendid venue was one of great joy and hope as people from nations large and small expressed their pleasure at participating in a global event for peace. The words of Hon. Gilbert Bangana, representing the president of the National Assembly of Benin, touched people’s hearts: “When I was young, I learned Father and Mother Moon’s principles of peace, and today I continue to practice their peace philosophy.”

Many people expressed to me their gratitude for having introduced a new path toward peace. Republican US Senator, and Senate president pro tempore, Orrin Hatch, who assisted with and attended the inauguration, is a longtime friend. After I delivered my keynote address, he took the podium and kindly mentioned his appreciation for our unchanging movement for peace. Senator Hatch, who served in the United States Senate from 1977 until 2019, has always offered strong support for our work. Senator Edward Markey, representing the Democratic Party, expressed his gratitude for our contributions toward environmental preservation and promised to support us.

With the conclusion of this final launch in Washington, D.C., my course to inaugurate IAPP worldwide came to a close. For a year and more, I had traveled the globe, going to six continents to convene these events. More than 20,000 people, including 2,500 incumbent parliamentarians from 190 nations, had attended, making this initiative a great success.

Each IAPP regional inauguration marked a historic first for parliamentarians from so many nations to gather in one place. These men and women put aside differences of nationality, race and religious persuasion, and any sense of being from enemy nations. Spending several days in each other’s company, they would always begin with the important question, “What can we do now for the sake of peace?”

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